4 month old suddenly lost interest in milk (and has not started solids)

4 month old suddenly lost interest in milk (and has not started solids)

"I had a great routine with my baby. She was in the 75th percentile, gaining weight well and *mostly* happy. She was having a bottle every 4 hours. But ever since she was 4 months old, she went from drinking her bottles quickly to refusing her 150 ml bottle and arching her back in protest. In a day, she would only have as little as 400 ml of milk. I thought this was teething, but it's been going on for 1.5 months! What's happening?"

It's so frustrating as a parent when your baby refuses milk. As a first time mum, I was worried. Is this common? Why didn't anyone at my mothers' group experience it? I brought her to the GP because I was worried she's not taking in enough liquid. The GP told me to monitor her for the next 3 days. I thought I had ticked off all the possible causes of this new behaviour:

Is the milk the cause?

At 4 months old, my baby had been having formula. The formula we use was not expired and perfectly okay to drink. There's been no change to formula or the temperature at which the milk was served at. 

Should I change teat size?

Was she getting frustrated at the flow of the milk? Possibly. So, I changed it to a teat with a larger hole and no improvement too. 

Is baby not feeling well?

She didn't have a temperature, and still as happy as ever. She didn't seem unwell or hurt. Everything else about her seemed normal.

Is baby teething?

I thought this was the case because it seemed to be the logical explanation. Everything was going well, and suddenly something changed. It must be teething. She's also salivating a lot. I was excited and anticipating the arrival of her tiny two teeth. But days turned into weeks, and I started thinking if there's another reason. 

Could it just be her salivary glands developing, and she's not really teething? 

Is baby distracted?

My first response was no. It's not like I fed her in a crowded place and she was too distracted. We're just home in our living room alone with the TV switched off. How could she be distracted? I was too quick to assume that this wasn't the reason. 

Until I got desperate. 

I didn't want to change our perfectly functioning routine. But who knows? Maybe a dark quiet room might just be the answer

What worked

Feeding her in a quiet and dark room helped. She was less distracted by her surroundings and would have about 80-100 ml each time. So when my mum visited and was dangling a soft toy in front of her while I was trying to feed in the room, I had to gently explain to my mum that her method of coaxing her to drink was doing quite the opposite. 

Another thing that worked was feeding her when she was about to drift off to sleep. I would put the teat in her mouth and she would suck and finish the milk. We've been warned that feeding to sleep is bad. But hey, it worked for us. 

She was able to increase her milk intake to about 600 ml a day. And I was just so happy that we could figure out a way to get her to drink more milk. 

*Sigh of relief*

I've been told to just relax and enjoy her given she's not unwell or dehydrated. Babies will not starve themselves. I know that. But knowing that didn't stop me from feeling worried or slightly stressed out. 

For the first time mamas who are experiencing a similar situation, I hope this article is helpful to you xx

 

 

Comments

Katy

Katy said:

This is me right now! Exclusively breast feeding, and the only time I can get her to have a decent feed is before she goes down for a nap, I’d be fighting her for the whole two hour awake period to get something in her. But I have no idea how much she is taking in at all :( so past week I have been feeding her to sleep and she will have the occasional snack when I can get her on. So same here with the dark room, less distractions around. Hoping to find another way as I really want to teach her how to self settle asap! Xx

Chris C

Chris C said:

Thank you for this article. It is exactly what I am experience. So reassuring to read.

Sadia

Sadia said:

I have been experiencing the same with my 4 month old and it’s been a month and a half she is not taking milk properly. She takes 80ml after 3 to 4 hours and it worries me so much that I have lost my sleep over this.

Pollah H

Pollah H said:

My baby girl is about to turn 5months next week and yes, we are in this situation right now. I am first time mom and it’s just worrying too much. Everything is just suddenly change and I am trying to relax and calm but everytime i feed her, i keep praying she will take the bottle.
Thank you for this article.

Jola

Jola said:

Thank you for ur posts girls. The same for us: first time mama, we are 4,5 months and it’s been 7 weeks with these refuses, crying a lot when I try to lie him for drinking time and arching his back. Sometimes when almost asleep yep, he drinks somewhat. I am breastfeeding and formula supplementing, but since stressed out of this behavior the breast milk may have dropped. I am not sure, so I tried to start him the solids because I was feared of baby sleeping from tiredness with an empty stomach. I wish u and ur babies health and relief asap!

Nav

Nav said:

Thank you for your article. I thought I was going crazy and just knowing I am not alone helps. I even went to the hospital Monday, after 12 hours of my son not drinking. Only to be sent home after he started drinking 90ml at the hospital. It was so embarrassing but I was just relieved that he started drinking.
I am just so confused, I am waking in the night to try and get him to drink but when he is sleepy the most he drinks is 10ml-30ml. He is a premature baby and overall was growing well on the 25th percentile. During lockdown and not having contacts or experience- articles like this are so useful. Please do send any other tips people may have.

Nav

Nav said:

Thank you for your article. I thought I was going crazy and just knowing I am not alone helps. I even went to the hospital Monday, after 12 hours of my son not drinking. Only to be sent home after he started drinking 90ml at the hospital. It was so embarrassing but I was just relieved that he started drinking.
I am just so confused, I am waking in the night to try and get him to drink but when he is sleepy the most he drinks is 10ml-30ml. He is a premature baby and overall was growing well on the 25th percentile. During lockdown and not having contacts or experience- articles like this are so useful. Please do send any other tips people may have.

Pooja

Pooja said:

First time mum and have been experiencing the same with my 4 month old baby girl. She is an absolute delight but just refuses to drink. We have tried music, dark room and what not! What’s worked for us is gently rocking her to sleep and putting the teat in her mouth when she is about to sleep. Overall, in a day, she drinks anywhere between 750-950 ml (Yes! That’s a crazy range!)

Its a lot to follow as a routine every time she needs a feed. I feed her every 4 hours although she does not ask for food.

Thank you for the article! Helps to know, we are not alone.

Wishing all the wonderful mums the very best in this roller coaster ride called motherhood! :)

Geraldine Oribillo

Geraldine Oribillo said:

I have suffering my baby at 4mons old and by next month she’s 5mons. She less drink even sleeping. What is should do this age? Pls help me. Im looking forward. Thank you and have a good day!

One Eco Step

One Eco Step said:

Hi Geraldine, I’m so sorry to hear that. I can imagine how stressful and frustrating you’re feeling. I’m so sorry I don’t have any other suggestions apart from feeding baby more frequently and see if baby will feed more so he/she is getting enough liquid in the body? Hope things change for the better soon xx

Shruthi

Shruthi said:

Am exclusively breast feeding.. exactly same problem.. even i changed plac3 and room…didn’t worked.. night in sleep she takes from breast only.. day time not even from bottle…from spoon i am feeding 50ml expressed milk in spoon for 3 to 4 hours

Patience

Patience said:

Thank you for your article. Same here, I am so depressed , I even cry. But hope our almighty God will help us

Simran

Simran said:

1st time mum here experience the same with my 4month old baby girl… She don’t drink milk through out the night.. even I feed her middle of night she doesn’t open her mouth… I’m soooo confuse tool her to the doctor many times.. doctor are confused as well.. she is still the same almost 1month already 😢😢😢😢😢 I’m beginning to have stress cs of her… Tired googling everything tried every single thing nothing works … She is active when she cries for milk she only drinks 30ml… One feeding total feeding in a day is hardly 330ml full day… I don’t even know is it enuf for her or not

Johanna

Johanna said:

My little girl (turning 4 months next week) is doing exactly the same.. Refusing the milk. We had a perfect routine, she usually drinking on avarage 150/160 ml, 5 times per 24 hours. Since last week, though, she refuses. Arching her back when I take her in my arms.. The same way I’ve been feeding her since she came home.
I’ve tried everything, feeding her while sleeping is the only solution at this moment.
I am wondering whether she is just tired of the milk.. Maybe she wants solids..
Generally, she is still a very happy baby and hardly ever cryes.

M Hw

M Hw said:

I’m a first time mum and my baby is approaching four months. She was drinking well for the first 3 months or so but in the last 2 weeks she been arching her back and crying when we position her for a feed. She’s already dropped from the 50th percentile to the 10th percentile for her weight, I fear she’ll drop even lower! The doctor recommended 600ml per day but it’s a struggle to match that and even hit 500ml on some days. We’ve tried to change positions when feeding, have different people feed her, feed her smaller amounts at shorter intervals of 2h and also tried feeding her after 3-4h but she still only drinks a small amount (like 60ml or less). She doesn’t fight the bottle so much at night but still only manages to drink 60ml at best. Any suggestions would be welcome! I’m about to try a new bottle and see if that’s the problem. Meanwhile sorry everyone is going through this, wishing everyone all the best in turning their situation around!

E

E said:

It’s crazy how similar we are all experiencing the same thing. My baby was drinking 180ml five to six times a day. At 4 months he weighted 17lbs, he was 85 percentile after weighting 6lbs at birth. Right after his four months vaccines he started refusing to eat so I figure he wasn’t feeling well, four weeks later it was even worst, sometimes he would only drink 30ml at a time, that’s 150ml difference. I thought maybe it was teething, acid reflux, thrust but none of these was the case. I wonder if it is food aversion. Did it get better for any of you?

Pema

Pema said:

I am in the same situation. My five months old hasn’t been nursing when awake for the last one month. I have to feed her when she’s asleep. Has anyone come across a solution for this?? Please help

Thiri

Thiri said:

I feel you guys. My LO is almost 3 months and he was having exactly what everyone had been describing for past 3 weeks. He would cry when in feeding position, suck on the teat then turning head or arching. You can feed him when he is half asleep. I had tried different level of teats, different position, different area and every thing you named it. Just like someone said above, I pray before feeding time, during feeding and after feeding to have him take some like 1-2 ounces.

I went to doctor also and before the doctor came in he was drinking some milk. He nearly had 400cc in 24 hrs so I took him to the doctor. He still have good tears, good wet diapers and he had gained weight from 2 month check up so they are not worry. It is difficult for a mom to see your little one refusing.
My little one is bottle fed with breast milk and he was taking 2.5-3 oz every 3 hrs before.

Lady, it is called “feeding aversion”. I read this book “Your Baby’s Bottle-Feeding Aversion: Reasons and Solutions
Book by Rowena Bennett” in 2 days and kept re reading since I wanted to keep going back to old habit of “pressuring” to feed the baby. It is hard to take that I am the cause of his problem. I am still trying to apply the sigh from the book and we are at Day 12. I had cheated and fed him or continued feeding him when he was asleep.

Now our feeding times are more pleasant but I got so frustrated of waiting for him to get hungry and sometimes he won’t eat for 5-6hrs. The book does help with trying to point out my mistake of “pressuring” to finish the bottle or pressuring to have him eat when he was not hungry and says to deal with the aversion. Some of the examples in the book are like my situation and I am amazed of how accurate the descriptions are.

I had the same problem with my first child and I thought it was due to me going back to work and she was refusing the nipples. I could now see that she had bottle aversion also.

It is good to know that I am not the only one out there. If you have a chance read that book so that we have some pleasant feeding time.

Hugs and prayer for all of you.

Synn

Synn said:

Dear mamas, so grateful that I’m not alone! My baby is 4 months plus and refuse milk, even direct latch! This was really driving me crazy wondering if she feeling unwell or something. And yes the most efficient way is to feed her when she is about to sleep. We know that is bad to feed her this way but most important she has more milk. Is really a tiring way but hang on mama, we will get through it one day!

Synn

Synn said:

Dear mamas, so grateful that I’m not alone! My baby is 4 months plus and refuse milk, even direct latch! This was really driving me crazy wondering if she feeling unwell or something. And yes the most efficient way is to feed her when she is about to sleep. We know that is bad to feed her this way but most important she has more milk. Is really a tiring way but hang on mama, we will get through it one day!

Aniee

Aniee said:

Hello moms
I am first time mom of 5 month old baby girl. We are also facing Same problem from last two months. I tried everything what worked for me is feeding while my baby is sleeping. Also sometime waiting till my baby asks food also works wonder but that is really frustrating to wait for almost 6 hours sometimes .
I hope this ends soon as it’s really very stressful every time feed her with fear of rejection

Mikey

Mikey said:

Our daughter was born 8 weeks early. She was born with CDH, a rare condition in which her diaphragm didn’t form during pregnancy..many issues with her lungs, intestines and heart…but here we are 4 months later and experiencing the same things mentioned here. She is on Domperiodone and Lanzoprozole for her reflux luckily it’s silent (no throw up) however we are struggling with her feeds…she’s eating 600-700 mls a day but it’s a struggle!!!!! Feeds take forever and half the time it’s her crying bloody murder…we’re at our wits end but all that goes away when she smiles back at us when she isn’t eating. It’s basically her feeds that have ruined our whole experience with her we love her so much we just hate seeing her in complete agony. Is there anybody here who have had their child on those medications? we’re they upped at any point?? her Dom is 0.5 mls every 8 hours and lanzoproazole is 1.13 mls once a day…they seem to help with no vomit but she is still in complete pain! is there anything for the pain? mikeysavatti@yahoo.ca is my email please let me know

Rasima

Rasima said:

Currently going through the situation. It is very hard to feed my 3 month old baby. I am trying very much to fill his stomach but not able to do. Really depressed mentally. Pls give valuable tips. Thankyou

Bhavya Singhal

Bhavya Singhal said:

Reading this article can we conclude that till the baby is active, less feeds are ok and even the weight will be gained gradually? Please suggest in case anyone was able to figure out any solution to this?

Morgan Mendoza

Morgan Mendoza said:

Thank you for posting your blog. My cousin has the same issue.
https://tinytwig.com.au/

Manjinder Singh(India)

Manjinder Singh(India) said:

My 4 months old daughter had same problem and she started avoiding both breast and formula milk. We tried all different things on her like feeding her while she was asleep, feeding her in dark, trying some flavours in the milk, put some honey on the nipple and infact for 2 days we fed her with dropper. At last we consulted with our doctor and doctor suggested that there is possible deficiency of iron and vitamin D3. He immediately suggested 1 ml iron and 1 ml D3 drop twice a day for her.
That worked well and baby started drinking milk after 2 days of medication.

Christina

Christina said:

Arching back = Acid Reflux get your LO on reflux medication

Nana Ekua

Nana Ekua said:

Currently facing same problems. And I am thinking of taking her to see her doctor. But I think I will try your procedure. Thanks for sharing.

Soonae

Soonae said:

I am so happy to see such similar symptoms! My baby was a really good drinker until 3 months, when he first went on his nursing strike. We changed the bottle teat to a faster flow and that made the most difference. We also fed him in more quiet places and no one spoke / walked within his eyesight when feeding. It seemed to get better although he never went back to his old self. At 4 months, he is now again on a serious dieting mode – we just got reflux medication from the paediatrician so hope it works. It’ll be really good to see if anyone found that their baby grew out of this phase – initially the doctor said it’ll pass in two weeks but it doesn’t seem to be going away.

Montana Peebles

Montana Peebles said:

I’m a young mom and I really love this. It’s helpful for me and my daughter. She’s been improving thank you!

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